EU Leads Global AI Regulation with Landmark Legislation

European representatives in Strasbourg recently concluded an extensive 37-hour discussion, resulting in the world’s first extensive framework for regulating artificial intelligence. This ground-breaking agreement, facilitated by European Commissioner Thierry Breton and Spain’s AI Secretary of State, Carme Artigas, is set to shape how social media and search engines operate, impacting major companies. 

The deal, achieved after lengthy negotiations and hailed as a significant milestone, puts the EU at the forefront of AI regulation globally, surpassing the US, China, and the UK. The new legislation, expected to be enacted by 2025, involves comprehensive rules for AI applications, including a
risk-based system to address potential threats to health, safety, and human rights. 

Key components of the agreement include strict controls on AI-driven surveillance and real-time biometric technologies, with specific exceptions for law enforcement under certain circumstances. The European Parliament ensured a ban on such technologies, except in cases of terrorist threats, search for victims, or serious criminal investigations. 

MEP Brando Benefei and Dragoș Tudorache, who led the negotiations, emphasised the aim of developing an AI ecosystem in Europe that prioritises human rights and values. The agreement also includes provisions for independent authorities to oversee predictive policing and uphold the presumption of innocence. 

Tudorache highlighted the balance struck between equipping law enforcement with necessary tools and banning AI technologies that could pre-emptively identify potential criminals. (Minority Report anyone?)
The highest risk AI systems will now be regulated based on the computational power required for training, with GPT4 being a notable example and the only technology fulfilling this criterion. 

Some Key Aspects 
The new EU AI Act delineates distinct regulations for AI systems based on their perceived level of risk, effectively categorizing them into “Unacceptable Risk,” “High Risk,” “Generative AI,” and “Limited Risk” groups, each with specific obligations for providers and users. 

Unacceptable Risk 

AI systems deemed a threat to people’s safety or rights will be prohibited. This includes: 

  • AI-driven cognitive behavioural manipulation, particularly targeting vulnerable groups, like voice-activated toys promoting hazardous behaviours in children. 
  • Social scoring systems that classify individuals based on behaviour,
    socio-economic status, or personal characteristics. 
  • Real-time and remote biometric identification systems, like facial recognition. 
  • Exceptions exist, such as “post” remote biometric identification for serious crime investigations, subject to court approval. 

High Risk 

AI systems impacting safety or fundamental rights fall under high-risk, subdivided into: 

  • AI in EU-regulated product safety categories, like toys, aviation, cars, medical devices, and lifts. 
  • Specific areas requiring EU database registration, including biometric identification, critical infrastructure management, education, employment, public services access, law enforcement, migration control, and legal assistance. 
  • High-risk AI systems must undergo pre-market and lifecycle assessments. 

Generative AI 

AI like ChatGPT must adhere to transparency protocols: 

  • Disclosing AI-generated content. 
  • Preventing generation of illegal content. 
  • Publishing summaries of copyrighted data used in training. 
  • Limited Risk 
  • These AI systems require basic transparency for informed user decisions, particularly for AI that generates or manipulates visual and audio content, like deepfakes. Users should be aware when interacting with AI. 

The legislation sets a precedent for future digital regulation. As we saw with the GDPR, Governments outside the EU used the legislation as a foundation for their own laws and many corporations adopted the same privacy standards from within Europe for their businesses worldwide for efficiency. This could easily happen in the case of the EU AI Act with governments using it as a ‘starter for ten’. It will be interesting to see how the legislation will cater for algorithmic biases found within current iterations of the technology from facial recognition technology to other automated decision making algorithms. The UK did publish its AI White Paper in March of this year and says it follows a “Pro-Innovation” approach. However, it seems to have decided to go ‘face first’ before any legislation is passed with facial recognition software recently used in the Beyoncé gig, King Charles’ coronation and during the Formula One Grand Prix. For many, it is the impact of the decision making the software is formulating through the power of AI which is worrying. The ICO does have useful guides on the use of AI which can be found here. 

As artificial intelligence technology rapidly advances, exemplified by Google’s impressive Gemini demo, the urgency for comprehensive regulation was becoming increasingly apparent. The EU has signalled its intent to avoid past oversights seen in the unchecked expansion of tech giants and be at the forefront of regulating this fascinating technology to ensure its ethical and responsible utilisation. 

Join our Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, How to Implement Good Information Governance workshop for hands-on insights, key resource awareness, and best practices, ensuring you’re ready to navigate AI complexities fairly and lawfully.

ICO Reprimand for NHS Patient Data Breach

In a concerning revelation of data security lapses, NHS Fife has been formally reprimanded by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) following an incident where an unauthorised individual accessed sensitive patient information. The breach occurred in a hospital ward and highlights key learnings for all organisations regarding security protocols for personal data.

Incident Overview

The case came to light after the ICO, discovered that the personal information of 14 patients was compromised. The incident, which took place in February 2023, involved an individual who was able to access secure documents and participate in administering care to a patient, highlighting a lack of identity verification checks at the hospital.

ICO Investigation Findings

The ICO’s investigation unveiled several deficiencies in NHS Fife’s approach to data protection. Notably, staff training on safeguarding personal information was found to be inadequate. The ICO found training rates across the hospital were at only 42% although on the ward it was at 82%. This low rate was attributed to the Covid-19 Pandemic and a three-year training cycle. Additionally, the ICO pointed out that the hospital’s CCTV system had been mistakenly turned off by a staff member before the incident as part of wider energy-saving measures being implemented across the hospital. Although this would not have prevented the incident, it further complicated the recovery of the missing documents as the individual was not able to be identified.

Natasha Longson, ICO Head of Investigations, stressed the importance of stringent data security in healthcare. “Patient data is highly sensitive and needs the highest level of security. Trust in data security is pivotal when accessing healthcare services,” she remarked. 

Echoes of NHS Lanarkshire Incident

This is not the first instance of such a breach within the NHS system. Months earlier, NHS Lanarkshire faced a similar reprimand for unauthorised staff use of WhatsApp to share patient data over the course of two years, leading to data access by a non-staff member.

In the Lanarkshire incident, between April 2020 and April 2022, 26 staff at NHS Lanarkshire had access to a WhatsApp group where patient data was entered on more than 500 occasions, including names, phone numbers and addresses. Images, videos and screenshots, which included clinical information, were also shared. While it was made available for communicating basic information only at the start of the pandemic, WhatsApp was not approved by NHS Lanarkshire for processing patient data and was adopted by these staff without the organisation’s knowledge. A non-staff member was also added to the WhatsApp group in error, resulting in the inappropriate disclosure of personal information to an unauthorised individual. Additionally, it is worth bearing in mind, public sector organisations face the added risk of WhatsApp communications being disclosed to court proceedings after the High Court ruling in July of this year. The product of that ruling is currently being played out for us now

Corrective Measures and Recommendations

In response to this incident, NHS Fife has introduced new procedures, including stringent sign-in and out systems for documents containing patient data and updated ID verification processes. The ICO has also recommended that NHS Fife enhance its data protection strategies by conducting more frequent training for staff and providing clear written security guidelines as well as updating policies and procedures whilst clearly highlighting archived policies. The ICO also requested to be updated on these measures in a six-month follow up. 

Organisations can use these findings to ensure that all the recommendations mentioned above are being implemented within their organisations. The ICO added:

“Every healthcare organisation should look at this case as a lesson learned and consider their own policies when it comes to security checks and authorised access. We are pleased to see that NHS Fife has introduced new measures to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future.”

Learn more about data breaches with our UK GDPR Practitioner Certificate. Dive into the issues discussed in this blog and secure your spot before spaces run out.

The British Library Hack: A Chapter in Ransomware Resilience

In a stark reminder of the persistent threat of cybercrime, the British Library has confirmed a data breach incident that has led to the exposure of sensitive personal data, with materials purportedly up for auction online. An October intrusion by a notorious cybercrime group targeted the library, which is home to an extensive collection, including over 14 million books.

Recently, the ransomware group Rhysida claimed responsibility, publicly displaying snippets of sensitive data, and announcing the sale of this information for a significant sum of around £600k to be paid in cryptocurrency.

While the group boasts about the data’s exclusivity and sets a firm bidding deadline (today 27th November 2023), the library has only acknowledged a leak of what seems to be internal human resources documents. It has not verified the identity of the attackers nor the authenticity of the sale items. The cyber attack has significantly disrupted the library’s operations, leading to service interruptions expected to span several months.

In response, the library has strengthened its digital defenses, sought expert cybersecurity assistance, and urged its patrons to update their login credentials as a protective measure. The library is working closely with the National Cyber Security Centre and law enforcement to investigate, but details remain confidential due to the ongoing inquiry.

The consequences of the attack have necessitated a temporary shutdown of the library’s online presence. Physical locations, however, remain accessible. Updates can be found the British Library’s X (née twitter) feed. The risk posed by Rhysida has drawn attention from international agencies, with recent advisories from the FBI and US cybersecurity authorities. The group has been active globally, with attacks on various sectors and institutions.

The British Library’s leadership has expressed appreciation for the support and patience from its community as it navigates the aftermath of the cyber attack.

What is a Ransomware Attack?

A ransomware attack is a type of malicious cyber operation where hackers infiltrate a computer system to encrypt data, effectively locking out the rightful users. The attackers then demand payment, often in cryptocurrency, for the decryption key. These attacks can paralyse organisations, leading to significant data loss and disruption of operations.

Who is Rhysida?

The Rhysida ransomware group first came to the fore in May of 2023, following the emergence of their victim support chat portal hosted via the TOR browser. The group identifies as a “cybersecurity team” who highlight security flaws by targeting victims’ systems and spotlighting the supposed potential ramifications of the involved security issues.

How to prevent a Ransomware Attack?

Hackers are becoming more and more sophisticated in ways they target our personal data. We have seen this with banking scams recently. However there are some measures we can implement personally and within our organisations to prevent a ransomware attack.

  1. Avoid Unverified Links: Refrain from clicking on links in spam emails or unfamiliar websites. Hackers frequently disseminate ransomware via such links, which, when clicked, can initiate the download of malware. This malware can then encrypt your data and hold it for ransom​​.

  2. Safeguard Personal Information: It’s crucial to never disclose personal information such as addresses, NI numbers, login details, or banking information online, especially in response to unsolicited communications​​.

  3. Educate Employees: Increasing awareness among employees can be a strong defence. Training should focus on identifying and handling suspicious emails, attachments, and links. Additionally, having a contingency plan in the event of a ransomware infection is important​​.

  4. Implement a Firewall: A robust firewall can act as a first line of defence, monitoring incoming and outgoing traffic for threats and signs of malicious activity. This should be complemented with proactive measures such as threat hunting and active tagging of workloads​​.

  5. Regular Backups: Maintain up-to-date backups of all critical data. In the event of a ransomware attack, having these backups means you can restore your systems to a previous, unencrypted state without having to consider ransom demands.

  6. Create Inventories of Assets and Data: Having inventories of the data and assets you hold allows you to have an immediate knowledge of what has been compromised in the event of an attack whilst also allowing you to update security protocols for sensitive data over time.

  7. Multi-Factor Authentication: Identifying legitimate users in more than one way ensures that you are only granting access to those intended. 

These are some strategies organisations can use as part of a more comprehensive cybersecurity protocol which will significantly reduce the risk of falling victim to a ransomware attack. 

Join us on our workshop “How to increase Cyber Security in your Organisation” and Cyber Security for DPO’s where we discuss all of the above and more helping you create the right foundations for Cyber resilience within your organisation. 

UK Biobank’s Data Sharing Raises Alarm Bells

An investigation by The Observer has uncovered that the UK Biobank, a repository of health data from half a million UK citizens, has been sharing information with insurance companies. This development contravenes the Biobank’s initial pledge to keep this sensitive data out of the hands of insurers, a promise that was instrumental in garnering public trust at the outset. UK Biobank has since come out and responded to the article calling it “disingenuous” and “extremely misleading”. 

A Promise Made, Then Modified 

The UK Biobank was set up in 2006 as a goldmine for scientific discovery, offering researchers access to a treasure trove of biological samples and associated health data. With costs for access set between £3,000 and £9,000, the research derived from this data has been nothing short of revolutionary. However, the foundations of this scientific jewel are now being questioned. 

When the project was first announced, clear assurances were given that data would not be made available to insurance companies, mitigating fears that genetic predispositions could be used discriminatorily in insurance assessments. These assurances appeared in the Biobank’s FAQs and were echoed in parliamentary discussions. 

Changing Terms Amidst Grey Areas 

The Biobank contends that while it does strictly regulate data access, allowing only verified researchers to delve into its database, this includes commercial entities such as insurance firms if the research is deemed to be in the public interest. The boundaries of what constitutes “health-related” and “public interest” are now under scrutiny.   

However, according to the Observer investigation, evidence suggests that this nuance—commercial entities conducting health-related research—was not clearly communicated to participants, especially given the categorical assurances given previously although the UK Biobank categorically denies this and shared its consent form and information leaflet. 

Data Sharing: The Ethical Quandary 

This breach of the original promise has raised the ire of experts in genetics and data privacy, with Prof Yves Moreau highlighting the severity of the breach of trust. The concern is not just about the sharing of data but about the integrity of consent given by participants. The Biobank’s response indicates that the commitments made were outdated and that the current policy, which includes sharing anonymised data for health-related research, was made clear to participants upon enrolment. 

The Ripple Effect of Biobank’s Data Policies 

Further complicating matters is the nature of the companies granted access. Among them are ReMark International, a global insurance consultancy,, a Canadian “insurtech” firm that wants to give people “personalised and predictive health scores”, and Club Vita, a longevity data analytics company. These companies have utilised Biobank data for projects ranging from disease prediction algorithms to assessing longevity risk factors. The question that is raised is how can one ensure that this is in fact in the Public Interest, do we take a commercial entities word for this? UK Biobank says all research conducted is “consistent with being health-related and in the public interest” and it has an expert data access committee who decide on any complex issues but the who checks the ethics of the ethics committee? The issues with this self-regulation are axiomatic. 

The Fallout and the Future 

This situation has led to a broader conversation about the ethical use of volunteered health data and the responsibility of custodians like the UK Biobank to uphold public trust. As technology evolves and the appetite for data grows across industries, the mechanisms of consent and transparency may need to be revisited.  The Information Commissioner’s Office is now considering the case, spotlighting the crucial need for clarity and accuracy in how organisations manage and utilise sensitive personal information. 

As the UK Biobank navigates these turbulent waters, the focus shifts to how institutions like it can maintain the delicate balance between facilitating scientific progress and safeguarding the privacy rights of individuals who contribute their personal data for the greater good. For the UK Biobank, regaining the trust of its participants and the public is now an urgent task, one that will require more than just a careful review of policies but a reaffirmation of its commitment to ethical stewardship of the data entrusted to it. 

Take a look at our highly popular Data Ethics Course. Places fill up fast so if you would like learn more in this fascinating area, book your place now. 

Clearview AI Wins Appeal Against GDPR Fine 

Last week a Tribunal overturned a GDPR Enforcement Notice and a Monetary Penalty Notice issued to Clearview AI, an American facial recognition company. In Clearview AI Inc v The Information Commissioner [2023] UKFTT 00819 (GRC), the First-Tier Tribunal (Information Rights) ruled that the Information Commissioner had no jurisdiction to issue either notice, on the basis that the GDPR/UK GDPR did not apply to the personal data processing in issue.  


Clearview is a US based company which describes itself as the “World’s Largest Facial Network”. Its online database contains 20 billion images of people’s faces and data scraped from publicly available information on the internet and social media platforms all over the world. It allows customers to upload an image of a person to its app; the person is then identified by the app checking against all the images in the Clearview database.  

In May 2022 the ICO issued a Monetary Penalty Notice of £7,552,800 to Clearview for breaches of the GDPR including failing to use the information of people in the UK in a way that is fair and transparent. Although Clearview is a US company, the ICO ruled that the UK GDPR applied because of Article 3(2)(b) (territorial scope). It concluded that Clearview’s processing activities “are related to… the monitoring of [UK resident’s] behaviour as far as their behaviour takes place within the United Kingdom.” 

The ICO also issued an Enforcement Notice ordering Clearview to stop obtaining and using the personal data of UK residents that is publicly available on the internet, and to delete the data of UK residents from its systems. (see our earlier blog for more detail on these notices.) 

The Judgement  

The First-Tier Tribunal (Information Rights) has now overturned the ICO’s enforcement and penalty notice against Clearview. It concluded that although Clearview did carry out data processing related to monitoring the behaviour of people in the UK (Article Art. 3(2)(b) of the UK GDPR), the ICO did not have jurisdiction to take enforcement action or issue a fine. Both the GDPR and UK GDPR provide that acts of foreign governments fall outside their scope; it is not for one government to seek to bind or control the activities of another sovereign state. However the Tribunal noted that the ICO could have taken action under the Law Enforcement Directive (Part 3 of the DPA 2018 in the UK), which specifically regulates the processing of personal data in relation to law enforcement. 

Learning Points 

While the Tribunal’s judgement in this case reflects the specific circumstances, some of its findings are of wider application: 

  • The term “behaviour” (in Article Art. 3(2)(b)) means something about what a person does (e.g., location, relationship status, occupation, use of social media, habits) rather than just identifying or describing them (e.g., name, date of birth, height, hair colour).  

  • The term “monitoring” not only comes up in Article 3(2)(b) but also in Article 35(3)(c) (when a DPIA is required). The Tribunal ruled that monitoring includes tracking a person at a fixed point in time as well as on a continuous or repeated basis.

  • In this case, Clearview was not monitoring UK residents directly as its processing was limited to creating and maintaining a database of facial images and biometric vectors. However, Clearview’s clients were using its services for monitoring purposes and therefore Clearview’s processing “related to” monitoring under Article 3(2)(b). 

  • A provider of services like Clearview, may be considered a joint controller with its clients where both determine the purposes and means of processing. In this case, Clearview was a joint controller with its clients because it imposed restrictions on how clients could use the services (i.e., only for law enforcement and national security purposes) and determined the means of processing when matching query images against its facial recognition database.  

Data Scraping 

The ruling is not a greenlight for data scraping; where publicly available data, usually from the internet, is collected and processed by companies often without the Data Subject’s knowledge. The Tribunal ruled that this was an activity to which the UK GDPR could apply. In its press release, reacting to the ruling, the ICO said: 

“The ICO will take stock of today’s judgment and carefully consider next steps.
It is important to note that this judgment does not remove the ICO’s ability to act against companies based internationally who process data of people in the UK, particularly businesses scraping data of people in the UK, and instead covers a specific exemption around foreign law enforcement.” 

This is a significant ruling from the First Tier Tribunal which has implications for the extra territorial effect of the UK GDPR and the ICO powers to enforce it. It merits an appeal by the ICO to the Upper Tribunal. Whether this happens depends very much on the ICO’s appetite for a legal battle with a tech company with deep pockets.  

This and other GDPR developments will be discussed by Robert Bateman in our forthcoming GDPR Updateworkshop.  

Act Now in Dubai: Season 2 

On the 2ndand 3rd October 2023, the UAE held the first ever privacy and data protection law conference; a unique event organised by the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) and data protection practitioners in the Middle East. The conference brought together data protection and security compliance professionals from across the world to discuss the latest developments in the Middle East data protection framework.  

Data Protection law in the Middle East has seen some rapid developments recently. The UAE has enacted its first federal law to comprehensively regulate the processing of personal data in all seven emirates. Once in force (expected to be early next year) this will sit alongside current data protection laws regulating businesses in the various UAE financial districts such as the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) Data Protection Law No. 5 of 2020 and the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) Data Protection Regulations 2021. Jordan, Oman, Bahrain and Qatar also have comprehensive data protection laws.  Currently what is causing most excitement in the Middle East data protection community is Saudi Arabia’s Personal Data Protection Law (PDPL) which came into force on 14th September 2022.  

The conference agenda covered various topics including the interoperability of data protection laws in the GCC, unlocking data flows in the region, smart cities, the use of facial recognition and data localisation. The focus of day 2 was on AI and machine learning. There were some great panels on this topic discussing AI standards, transparency and the need for regulation.   

Speakers included the UAE Minister for AI, His Excellency Omar Sultan Al Olama, as well as leading data protection lawyers and practitioners from around the world. Elisabeth Denham, former UK Information Commissioner, also addressed the delegates alongside data protection regulators from across the region. Act Now’s director, Ibrahim Hasan, was invited to take part in a panel discussion to share his experience of GDPR litigation and enforcement action in the UK and EU and what lessons can be drawn for the Middle East. 

Alongside Ibrahim, the Act Now team were at the conference to answer delegates’ questions about our UAE and KSA training programmes.
Act Now has delivered training  extensively in the Middle East to a wide range of delegates including representatives of the telecommunications, legal and technology sectors. We were pleased to see there that there was a lot of interest in our courses especially our DPO certificates.  

Following the conference, Ibrahim was invited to deliver a guest lecture to law students at Middlesex University Dubai. This is the biggest university in Dubai with over 4500 students from over 118 countries. Ibrahim talked about the importance of Data Protection law and job opportunities in the information governance profession. He was pleasantly surprised by the students’ interest in the subject and their willingness to consider IG as an alternative career path. A fantastic end to a successful trip. Our thanks to the conference organisers, particularly Lori Baker at the DIFC Commissioner’s Office, and our friends at Middlesex University Dubai for inviting us to address the students.  

Now is the time to train your staff in the new data protection laws in the Middle East. We can deliver online as well as face to face training. All of our training starts with a free analysis call to ensure you have the right level and most appropriate content for your organisation’s needs. Please get in touch to discuss your training or consultancy needs.  

All Go for UK to US Data Transfers 

On 10th July 2023, the European Commission adopted its adequacy decision under Article 45 of GDPR for the EU-U.S. Data Privacy Framework (DPF).
It concluded that the United States ensures an adequate level of protection, comparable to that of the European Union, for personal data transferred from the EU to US companies under the new framework. It means that personal data can flow safely from the EU to US companies participating in the Framework, without having to put in place additional data protection safeguards under the GDPR. 

The question then is, “What about transfers from the UK to the US which were not covered by the above?” The Data Protection (Adequacy) (United States of America) Regulations 2023 (SI 2023/1028) will come into force on 12th October 2023. The effect of the Regulations will be that, as of 12th October 2023, a transfer of personal data from the UK to an entity in the USA which has self-certified to the Trans-Atlantic EU-US Data Privacy Framework and its UK extension and which will abide by the EU-US Data Privacy Framework Principles, will be deemed to offer an adequate level of protection for personal data and shall be lawful in accordance with Article 45(1) UK GDPR.  

Currently, data transfers from the UK to the US under the UK GDPR must either be based on a safeguard, such as standard contractual clauses or binding corporate rules, or fall within the scope of a derogation under Article 49 UK GDPR. 

UK Data Controllers need to update privacy policies and document their own processing activities as necessary to reflect any changes in how they transfer personal data to the US. 

The new US – EU Data Privacy Framework will be discussed in detail on our forthcomingInternational Transfers workshop. 

Act Now Launches New UAE DP Officer Certificate 

Act Now Training is pleased to announce the launch of the new UAE Data Protection Officer Certificate.  

Data Protection law in the Middle East has seen some rapid developments recently. The UAE recently enacted a federal law to comprehensively regulate the processing of personal data in all seven emirates. This will sit alongside current data protection laws regulating businesses in the various financial districts such as the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) Data Protection Law No. 5 of 2020 and the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) Data Protection Regulations 2021. In addition there are several sector specific laws in the UAE which address personal privacy and data security. Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Qatar also now have comprehensive data protection laws.   

These laws require a fundamental assessment of the way Middle East businesses handle personal data from collection through to storage, disclosure and destruction. With enhanced rights for individuals and substantial fines for non-compliance no business can afford to ignore the new requirements. 

Act Now’s UAE Data Protection Officer Certificate has been developed following extensive discussions with our clients and partners in the UAE and builds on our experience of delivering training and consultancy in the region. The course focuses on the essential knowledge required by DPOs to successfully navigate the UAE data protection landscape. The course will also help DPOs to develop the skills required to do their job better.
These include interpreting the data protection principles in a practical context, drafting privacy notices, undertaking DPIAs and reporting data breaches. 

The course teaching style is based on four practical and engaging workshops covering theory alongside hands-on application using case studies that equip delegates with knowledge and skills that can be used immediately. Delegates will also have personal tutor support throughout the course and access to a comprehensive revised online resource lab. 

Ibrahim Hasan, director of Act Now Training, said: 

“I am really pleased to be launching this new UAE DPO certificate course. This is an exciting time for data protection law in the Middle East. Act Now is committed to contributing to the development of the DPO function in the region.” 

If you would like to discuss your suitability for this course, please get in touch. It can also be delivered as an in house option.

Ibrahim Hasan’s BBC Radio Ulster Interview about the PSNI Data Breach 

Today, Ibrahim Hasan gave an interview to BBC Radio Ulster about the the Police Service of Northern Ireland’s (PSNI) recent data breach. In response to an FOI request, PSNI shared names of all officers and staff, where they were based and their roles. Listen below. More about the PSNI and the Electoral Commission data breaches here.

We have two workshops coming up in September (Introduction to Cyber Security and Cyber Security for DPOs) which are ideal for organisations who wish to upskill their employees about data security. Our Data Mapping workshop is proving very popular with IG and DP Officers who wish to develop this skill.

Facial Recognition CCTV Cameras in Every Store?

The Observer recently reported that Home Office officials have developed covert plans to lobby the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) in an effort to hasten the adoption of contentious facial recognition technology in high street stores and supermarkets. Critics argue that such technology raises concerns about bias and data privacy.

Despite these objections, the Home Office appears to be pushing for the adoption of facial recognition in stores. The minutes of the recent meeting, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, appear to show Home Office officials agreeing to write to the ICO praising the merits of facial recognition technology in combating “retail crime”. This ignores critics who claim the technology violates human rights and is biased, particularly against darker-skinned people.

Police minister Chris Philp, senior Home Office officials, and the commercial company Facewatch came to an agreement on the covert strategy on 8th March 2023 during a meeting held behind closed doors. Facewatch provides facial recognition cameras to help retailers combat shoplifting. It has courted controversy and was investigated by the ICO earlier this year following a complaint by Big Brother Watch.

Despite finding multiple UK GDPR violations on 28th March, the ICO told Facewatch it would take no further action. The ICO said it “welcomed” remedial steps that Facewatch had taken, or would take, to address the above violations. Those remedial steps have been redacted from public information about the case.

Facial recognition technology has faced extensive criticism and scrutiny, leading the European Union to consider a ban on its use in public spaces through the upcoming Artificial Intelligence Act. However, the UK’s Data Protection and Digital Information (No.2) Bill proposes to eliminate the government-appointed Surveillance Camera Commissioner role and the requirement for a surveillance camera code of practice.

Our forthcoming CCTV workshop is ideal for those who want to explore the GDPR and privacy issues around all types of CCTV cameras including drones and body worn cameras. Our Advanced Certificate in GDPR Practice is a practical scenario based course designed to help delegates gain the confidence to tackle complex GDPR issues in methodical way.

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